In the north of the wooded province of Värmland in Sweden there is a paradise hiking area. Where skiing and cross-country skiing in winter, you can discover the rugged nature in peace in the summer – and with a bit of luck even spotting a wild moose.
“After Napoleon’s time, only about 150 moose lived in the country. Look like 150 all over Sweden!’ Guide Udo Johansson raises his voice so we can hear him from the back seat about the engine’s checker. He deftly sends his 4×4 over a sandpath surrounded by tall trees. ‘Fortunately, things are much better now, so good so that the hunters nowadays help to maintain the population. There are about 300,000 elk in Sweden, much of them in this province. Värmland is very wooded, so the moose can find a lot to eat here.’
We left earlier in the evening with Udo from the Långbergets Sporthotell in the north of Värmland to go on moose safari, but the king of the forest is hiding well. We scour the wooded mountain slopes and Udo drives to all his favorite spot spots, but every time I think i see something, it turns out to be a broken tree or a big rock. “Those boulders are here because the trolls threw it when the first churches were built,” udo says. “They didn’t like that.” Udo tells his stories so vividly that you would almost believe in it, but if they were there, the trolls wouldn’t show up either. As dusk falls and we drive along an open field, Udo suddenly kicks on the brakes. Udo enthusiastically picks up the binoculars. ‘Too bad for you that they are not moose, but in this region red deer are much rarer!’
When the stars emerge, we set course back to the hotel, which has a fantastic location atop a mountain. It’s fresh on the mountain top and Udo lights up a campfire where he puts a kettle of coffee on. ‘What a bad luck we didn’t see! That’s the very first time this summer I didn’t succeed.’ In the summer season Udo is nature guide at Långberget and in winter he works at the ski lifts. “This is a popular winter sports area,” he says, warming our hands to steaming mugs of coffee. ‘In winter it’s also beautiful here, when the mountains are covered under a thick layer of snow, but As an outdoorsman I enjoy most of summer. Nature in, endless walking, looking for beavers and elk. Delicious!’
The next day we explore the area of Långberget on foot. The ski village under the hotel is the starting point of a number of well-marked shorter walking routes. One minute we walk on soft-dishonored moss, then over rocks again. The vistas are grandiose; In the morning we see the mist hanging over the Klarälven River in the far. In the forest it is wonderfully quiet and also on the vast mountain slopes you can hear nothing but the wind and whistling of birds. There is no soul to be seen; in summer you have the ski slopes full of flowering wildflowers all for yourself alone. When we reach the foot of the mountain, we see a lake lying down, where we meet other people for the first time. A fisherman greets us from the shore and in the distant paddling two canoeists. Around the lake are some of the famous red stuga’s, which are used here as holiday homes.
After our walk we got quite a lot of appetite and we walk to the restaurant of the Långbergets Sporthotell. Through the large windows you have panoramic views over the mountain, the forests and the lakes in the far. After a hearty supper of potatoes, a large meatball and red blueberries, we decide to drive down the mountain in our rental car to see the sunset at the Klarälven River. We arrive just before the sun sinks behind the mountains at a bridge and soon the entire air turns warm orange.
The wide river splits just before the bridge around an island and while we watch the sunset, we suddenly see some moving. A wild moose emerges from nowhere from the thicket on the islet, onthe pebble beach, and the majestic animal gently wades into the river at a point where the current is least strong. We hold our breath; Within half a minute, the moose has reached the other side and disappears into the dense vegetation. We couldn’t have imagined such a beautiful encounter even on the moose safari with Udo.
Make it happen
The Långbergets Sporthotell is open all year round and a fine base for an active holiday. In summer you can enjoy hiking, renting mountain bikes or going out with a guide to a moose safari, canoeing or fishing, and in winter you can ski and cross-country skiing. The rooms are simple but comfortable and equipped with a drying cabinet. In the restaurant with spectacular views, a breakfast buffet and buffet lunch are served and in the evening you can dine à la carte (langberget.se).
If you come by your own car, Långberget in the north of Värmland is about a 17 hour drive on a beautiful route through Germany, Denmark and western Sweden. You can also choose to fly to Oslo or Gothenburg and rent a car here. From Oslo it is just over 2.5 hours away and from Gothenburg just over 5 hours. You can read more about the region through visitvarmland.se